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W.Va. woman accused of selling lethal heroin dose sentenced in unrelated case

Autumn T. Blaine entered an Alford plea to one count of uttering and one count of grand larceny

July 15, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • Autumn T. Blaine
Autumn T. Blaine

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — A Bunker Hill, W.Va., woman accused of selling a lethal dose of heroin to a man who died at her home in March 2012 was sentenced Monday on grand larceny and uttering convictions in an unrelated case.

Autumn T. Blaine, 38, entered an Alford plea Monday in Berkeley County Circuit Court to one count of uttering and one count of grand larceny.

A one-year jail sentence for each conviction was ordered to be served concurrently by 23rd Judicial Circuit Judge Gray Silver III.

By entering an Alford plea, a defendant does not admit guilt but acknowledges there is sufficient evidence to gain a conviction.

A new trial date for a felony murder charge against Blaine is pending, according to court documents.

She was indicted in October 2012 on single counts of felony murder and delivery of heroin in the death of Paul Dwayne Burcham, 32, also of Bunker Hill.

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In February 2012, Blaine was indicted on single counts of uttering, conspiracy to commit uttering, burglary, conspiracy to commit burglary and petit larceny, according to court records.

All of the charges except the uttering charge were dismissed as part of the plea agreement. The grand larceny charge was subsequently filed by the state, the documents said.

Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Carmela M. Cesare told the court that the state could prove that Blaine cashed a stolen check at City National Bank in July 2011, and took part in a burglary of a Berkeley County home in October 2011, where she stole $1,000 in cash from a man’s bedroom.

The burglary occurred at 1075 Sam Mason Road, court documents said.

In questioning leading up to the entering of her plea, Blaine told the court she was not previously convicted of a felony, worked for the federal government for 15 years and had been treated for bipolar disorder since 2003.

In the pending murder case, Burcham was found slumped over the toilet in the master bedroom of Blaine’s home by authorities on the afternoon of March 29, 2012, police have said.

Burcham’s cause of death was determined to be due to “a large amount of morphine (heroin) in the victim’s blood, along with other nonprescribed narcotics,” the court documents said.

Upon finding Burcham in the bathroom, police also found one needle with a bloody tissue and a $20 bill on the sink, along with numerous hypodermic needles and several large spoons, court records said.
 

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